Baby-making isn't supposed to be rocket science—all you have to do is try and try again (*wink*). But it can be a bit tricky, so you try different sexual positions (fun), time of the day (hmm, requires planning), frequency (more!). But there is one way to ensure a 50 percent success rate (as long you and your partner have no fertility issues): sexual intercourse during your ovulation days.

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You ovulate for about six days in a month. Ovulation days or your fertile window only averages five to 10 days in a month, depending on your menstrual cycle. During this period, your luteinizing hormone surges and triggers your ovary to release the egg that is most ripe to be fertilized. The egg only has 12 to 24 hours to be fertilized after your ovary releases it.

When you have sex (every day or every other day, as some doctors suggest) during your fertile window, it automatically increases your chances of getting pregnant at 50 percent. See it as half-empty or half-full, but it is the ultimate tried-and-tested way to make a baby.

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Here are some ways to know if you're ovulating.

Subtract 14 from the length of your cycle. 

If you're on a 28-day cycle (Day 1 is the first day of your period), your ovulation period starts on Day 14. If you're on a 24-day cycle, you start to ovulate on Day 10, while a woman with a 35-day cycle would ovulate on Day 21. Some doctors prescribe to have sex every other day beginning on the first day of ovulation or two days before as sperm can stay alive in the uterus and fallopian tubes for at least two days.


Chart your basal body temperature.

On ovulation days, a woman's body temperature usually drops ever so slightly and then rises the next day until you get your period. A basal body temperature (BBT) is often used for this method as it shows temperatures to tenths of a degree. To get an idea when your ovulation days are through BBT, you need to take your BBT every day as soon as you wake up in the morning.

Use the Billings Ovulation Method.

A woman will have more vaginal discharge around the time of ovulation. Here's how to know if your ovulating via the Billings Ovulation Method (BOM): hold a sample of your mucus between your thumb and pointy finger. If you can stretch it between your fingers and it doesn't break, you probably are ovulating. It should be clear in color, similar to the consistency of egg whites. (Click here to read about a couple who swears by this method.)


Use an app (why not!).

Some women combine the BBT and BOM methods, or you can use an app that can help you monitor your menstrual cycle. If you chart your data (at least jot down your period days!) religiously, it can tell you when your ovulation days are, so you can do the deed and conceive or abstain from it and not get pregnant. There's one that's been approved as a birth control device. (Click here for a list of the best fertilty apps!)

Ask your doctor for help!

Most of these methods only works best if you have a regular menstrual cycle, whether you have a 28-, 30- or even 35-day period cycle as long as it happens every month. If you have an irregular menstrual cycle, consult your doctor to discuss your fertile days. 

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This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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